There really was no escaping this word in the past 12 months. Merriam-Webster picked “vaccine” as the 2021 word of the year.
Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large told the Associated Press, “It really represents two different stories. One is the science story, which is this remarkable speed with which the vaccines were developed. But there’s also the debates regarding policy, politics, and political affiliation. It’s one word that carries these two huge stories.”
Their selection comes after Oxford English Dictionary chose “vax” as their word of the year for 2021.
Compared to 2019, “vaccine” saw a 1,048% increase in lookups on Merriam-Webster’s website. Similarly, last year, Merriam-Webster chose “pandemic” as it topped the list of words looked up online in 2020.
Other runner-ups for the 2021 word of the year: insurrection, infrastructure, perseverance (the name of NASA’s most recent Mars rover) and Nomad because of the 2020 release of Nomadland.
Do you agree with “vaccine” as the word of the year? Any others you’d put high on the list?
Source: Associated Press